Federal Transit Administration

The Federal Transit Administration is an agency within US Department of Transportation (DoT) that provides financial and technical assistance to local public transit systems, including buses, subways, light rails, commuter rail, trolleys and ferries. Since 1964, FTA has partnered with state and local governments to create and enhance public transportation systems within the US.

Business Problem

Every year FTA is required to collect data from its local and state agencies in order to review which agencies need funding for their next project or services. The process by which they collected this data from their agencies was very traditional, outdated and relied heavily on their legacy systems. All 4000 transit agencies in the country would send data to FTA, and all of that data had to be manually reviewed by a dedicated team of FTA analysts. These analysts were combing through systems and spreadsheets trying to eliminate inconsistencies and comparing data against previously-submitted data. The accuracy of the data is critical, as it underpins FTA’s reporting to Congress to determine grant money allocations for FTA for the following year.

Appian Solution

The Appian Platform provided FTA the next-generation technology needed to drive the type of transformational change the agency was hoping for. FTA’s first Appian application was the National Transit Database (NTD). NTD integrates with several formerly-disjointed reporting modules used by transit agencies – thereby reducing the reporting burden on those agencies. Within FTA, analysts no longer have to swivel between multiple systems to access and analyze data, as NTD is the single repository of truth. Appian has added intelligence to the system to help guide the analysts, auto-generating data input and validation tasks and enforcing timely completion. The hours spent on emails and phone calls to track down and validate data have been eliminated. Appian’s robust role-based privileges add to the traceability and security of the data submitted as well as allow FTA to comply with frequent audits of their systems.

Based on the success of NTD, FTA built their second mission critical application on the FedRAMP certified Appian Cloud. The Transit Award Management System (TrAMS) is FTA’s modern grant management system. TrAMS has been deployed to award and manage Federal financial assistance for public transportation grantees. The system enables FTA and its grantees to consolidate redundant activities and streamline grant making and grant management processes. By leveraging platform data available through the NTD application, safety incidents and project pipelines for the 4000 agencies around the country are available for FTA analysts to make more informed decision for the grant funding made available to an agency.